This Week’s Big Winners – March 8th

by , Mar 8, 2011 | 8:47 pm

Due to your heroic author’s insistence that he can actually play poker as well as write about it, he decided to take a quick trip to Atlantic City to play a couple of Circuit events. That failed miserably, and also delayed the publishing of this article by more than a day. But here it is, a recap of what turned out to be a very busy week.

Erik Seidel Declares, “All Buy-In’s Over $25K Belong To Me”
2nd in the 2010 NBC Heads-Up Championship. 4th in the 2011 PCA $25,000 High Roller event. 3rd in the $100,000 High Roller and a win in the $250,000 Super High Roller at the 2011 Aussie Millions. And in the last week, a win in the $25,000 High Roller event at the LAPC and redemption with a win in the 2011 NBC Heads-Up Championship.

That’s a whole lot of words without a complete sentence, but it needs to stand alone due to the sheer impressiveness of one man accomplishing all of that in a calendar year. For a long time, Erik Seidel was known only as the man on the other end of Johnny Chan’s WSOP win, courtesy of the famous clip in the movie Rounders. Since his most infamous moment, Seidel has won 8 WSOP bracelets, but the last year has to be his crowning achievement. The total cash haul for all of this success? Over $4.5 million.

The path that Seidel took to the Head’s Up Championship was an impressive one. His first three victories were over fellow founding members of Team FullTilt, defeating Allen Cunningham in the first round, Jennifer Harman in the second round and Phil Gordon in the third. Seidel’s next two matches were against very different kinds of players, specifically of the online variety. One of the few people who’s been as hot as Seidel on the tournament trail is Vanessa Selbst, who has captured a few titles of her own in the last year. But she too fell to Seidel in the round of eight, setting up a match with Andrew Robl in the semifinals. Robl was no match for Seidel, who advanced to the finals and, wouldn’t you know it, a WSOP Main Event champion was waiting for him there. In a reversal of fortune it was Erik Seidel standing tall, claiming the $750,000 first place prize by beating what many would classify as a surprise finalist in Chris Moneymaker. Should make for some pretty good TV.

John Riordan Can’t Buy Booze, But He Can Rock a WSOP Circuit Ring
WSOP Circuit, West Palm Beach, Florida
The bad news for John Riordan is that because he can’t gamble in the state of Nevada, he misses out on the huge opportunity of the WSOP Championship, with $1 million in the prize pool. The good news is that he’s already got quite a few reasons not to be upset. About 210,810 reasons, to be specific, as he won the Main Event of the WSOP Circuit stop at the West Palm Beach Kennel Club last week.

Riordan took advantage of the fact that Florida is one of the few places in the United States in which you’re allowed to gamble at 18, so while he technically qualifies for the million dollar freeroll, he can’t legally play in Las Vegas, and thus forfeits this right to play. His spot will be occupied by an additional at-large qualifier, determined by overall point standings for the entirety of the 2010-2011 WSOPC season.

Gregory Brooks Owes Neighbor Free Drinks For Life After Convincing Him to Play LAPC Main Event
LA Poker Classic, Commerce, California
I don’t personally know what it’s like to be able to play or not play a $10k event on a whim, but for those who can, it can be a decision that can change their life. In the case of Gregory Brooks, that’s exactly what happened. After some disappointing results online, Brooks was ready to take a break from poker, but thanks to the advice of that sagely neighbor, he decided to squeeze in a trip to the Commerce Casino that would change his life.

After several grueling days, Brooks found himself in the final six of the LAPC Main Event with online legends Vivek Rajkumar and Steve Gross, as well as former WSOP Main Event champion and poker superstar Carlos Mortensen. But when the dust finally settled, it was Brooks that was the last man standing. Most people end up with a headache or a mysterious rash after doing something on a whim. Greg Brooks won $1.6 million and a seat to the $25,000 WPT Championship. Tough life.

In other action at the seemingly endless LAPC, David Kitai won the WPT Celebrity invitational. The final table of this event was delayed by a week to accommodate the WPT filming crew, which was already set up to film the Main Event. Kitai took home a $100,000 package, with $75,000 in cash and the other $25,000 wrapped up in a seat in the WPT Championship.

WSOPC in Atlantic City Becomes a 3-Ring Circus
WSOP Circuit – Caeser’s, Atlantic City
The WSOPC has been in Atlantic City for less than a week, and there’s already madness brewing. At the final table of Event #5, a bevy of borderline poker ettiquette issues were raised, from calling for cards in hands players weren’t involved in to high-fiving spectators, to running around the rather large tournament area causing a major scene. The instigator of this madness was Matthew Piccolo, who Nolan Dalla, in his recap of the event, called “an unshaven Chris Farley wearing an Oakland Raiders cap.” The hysterics overshadowed the victory of Jaeik Cho, who quietly collected the WSOPC ring and nearly $30,000.

Luke Vrabel Takes Home $670K and a Lambo In 5th Anniversary of PokerStars’ Sunday Million
Its rare to see a tournament eclipse 10,000 players online. It’s nearly impossible to imagine almost 60,000 players in an event, and it hits that mark when the buy-in is $215. But that’s just what happened this past weekend in the PokerStars Sunday Million, where they guaranteed a $5 million prize pool for their 5th anniversary and reached more than double that mark. As play reached the final table, the structure became a bit too fast for the remaining players, who each agreed to chop out part of the prize pool and guarantee themselves almost $300,000. The biggest winner of them all was Luke “Bdbeatslayer” Vrabel, who took home $670,000 as well as a brand new Lamborghini Gallardo. Not bad for 16 hours of work.


2 Comments to “This Week’s Big Winners – March 8th”


  1. JamesDaBear
    says:

    Sorry to nitpick, but Allen Cunningham isn’t an original Team Full Tilt member. Harman and Gordon are.


  2. Paul Ellis
    says:

    Also…Davidi Katai was the WPT Invitational winner. I made that mistake a lot too. But then, I found it was much more fun saying Davidi (pronounced “Da-Vid-Dee”) than just saying David. #WINNING